Canadian exporters squeezed some growth out of the natural gas trade with the United States last year, keeping well ahead of LNG deliveries to the U.S., which declined slightly in 2005.

Canadian pipeline deliveries grew by 2% in 2005, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a calendar-year report that confirmed records kept by Canada’s National Energy Board on the traditional gas contract year ended last Oct. 31. Canadian shipments to the U.S. rose to 3.76 Tcf in 2005 from 3.69 Tcf the previous year, Washington’s fossil fuels office reported. The annual average price for American imports from Canada set a record by jumping 39.5% to US$7.95 per MMBtu for 2005 from US$5.70 the year before.

Although tanker deliveries of liquefied natural gas maintained their market share, Canada retained its long-standing role as the dominant U.S. supplier from the international market.

Total net U.S. imports — after exports of 358.3 Bcf to Canada, 305.2 Bcf to Mexico and 65.1 Bcf to Japan — were 3.68 Tcf, or 16.7% of American consumption in 2005. Canada accounted for 85% of the trade, while LNG landings of 631.3 Bcf represented 15%.

LNG imports into the U.S. were 631.3 Bcf in 2005, off 3% from 652 Bcf in 2004, but still triple the 200-Bcf level where the ocean gas traffic into the U.S. hovered in preceding years. Trinidad continued to lead the LNG pack, accounting for 70% of tanker deliveries, while smaller volumes arrived from Algeria (97.2 Bcf), Egypt (72.5 Bcf), Malaysia (8.7 Bcf), Nigeria (8.2 Bcf), Qatar (3 Bcf) and Oman (2.5 Bcf). LNG traded in a wide price range, from US$5.31/MMBtu to $10.46 depending on times of deliveries during volatile 2005.

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